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CHRISTIAN--Failure to Live Up to Privileges of.
QUESTION (1911)--1--What should we understand in a general way to be comprehended in the term "Failure to live up to one's privilege as a Christian?" Does this include a failure to study the Scriptures, or an opportunity for serving the Lord along mechanical lines, the same as one's time and energy to the extent of incapacity only for the study of the Scriptures?
ANSWER.--Well, this is a very complicated question. No one can answer questions properly except along general lines, and it remains for each individual Christian to apply those lines. This is God's will, this is God's way; otherwise God would have said through Jesus or through the Apostles, do this, don't do that, do the other thing; but he has not placed us in such bondage as that, and thus limited us. He has left us along general lines to know certain principles and to exercise our thoughts along those lines, and thus he puts a responsibility upon you for your conduct, and upon me for my conduct, and this is an elastic system that allows different people of different conditions of mind each one to put the proper bondage on himself, and it keeps other people from bringing him into bondage. Thus the Church of Christ can be at full liberty. Everything that the Lord has said is an obligation, but the Lord has not made very many obligations. You will find the obligations generally made by men. This denomination says, you shall not chew tobacco, that one says you shall not drink whiskey, another one says you have got to wear that shaped coat, and another one, cut your hair in this way, and another one says you must walk in such a way. All of these things are of men; there is nothing of this kind in the Bible. The Bible lays down broad general principles and gives every man and every woman a right to use his or her own mind upon the subject. As, for instance, someone said to me, "Brother Russell, can a man chew tobacco and be a Christian? And it is right to smoke? And is it right to drink coffee? And is it right to wear a hat with a feather in it? And is it right to wear a broad hat, etc.?" And I say, "My dear brother, you have a right to do anything you please, which you think will glorify God and do good to yourself and to your neighbor. Drink all the whiskey you think will glorify God. God does not say, snip off this, and snip off that; the Lord says, give your whole heart to me make a full consecration; everything goes down; you have no earthly rights. Love merely whatever God says he approves of remembering that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus."
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE--Was Pastor Russell a Pupil of Mary Baker Eddy?
QUESTION (1912)--2--Was Pastor Russell ever a pupil of Mary Baker Eddy? (Laughter.)
QUESTION (1905)--3--Why should the trouble begin with 1914?
ANSWER.--I answer that the reason we expect it to begin there in the full sense is that the Father laid out the plan of this whole age. Here Bro. Russell gave a long talk on the "Times of the Gentiles" showing that their lease of [Q71] power began in 606 B.C. and will end in the fall of 1914, which can be found in detail in Vol.2, of the Dawns.
CHRONOLOGY--Beginning or End of Time of Trouble Re 1914.
QUESTION (1905)--1--Will the time of trouble begin or end in 1914 and why?
ANSWER.--We answer that there have been times of trouble this good while. (You know we have a trouble corner over there, and he smiled and pointed over to his little office.) There have been and there will be times of trouble as far as the Church is concerned. Look at the persecutions. But the reference here, and properly enough, is to the "Great Time of Trouble" that is referred to in Daniel, twelfth chapter, where he says, "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was before," and our Lord adds, "No and never shall be again." Well that is the time of trouble that is in our minds, and it will not begin nor end in 1914. The time of trouble may be a beginning now, but those beginnings are only leading up to the real trouble. If there was a whirlwind coming you would expect to first see dust and commotion before the houses would be swept away, and so we see in Russia. The time of trouble, the awful time of anarchy, to our understanding, commences really there, though like the dust of the whirlwind there will be and is now trouble preceding the awful anarchy. As to how long it will last I do not know, but I cannot imagine how it could last long. As an illustration; take Pittsburg or Allegheny, and suppose they were cut off from the railroads. No peace to any man that goeth out or that cometh in. Everything would run out in a short time. We eat a good deal in Allegheny and Pittsburg. But, in the olden times, they had cities that would stand long sieges for months or years, like Port Arthur. They had great supplies. Our cities are not now in that condition with great supplies laid up; we live from hand to mouth. When anarchy comes it will bring terrible conditions, and I do not see how it could possibly last long. Things, I think, will come to an abrupt end within a year. In those times, when people are laying their hands on everything they can get, the farmers are not going to raise wheat for others just to give it away.
CHRONOLOGY--Re Our Lord's Personal Presence in 1874
QUESTION (1907)--2--On what grounds is it affirmed that our Lord's personal presence began in 1874 and will continue until the end of the Millennial Age?
ANSWER.--I answer, it is based on this ground: that He comes to accomplish a work and that the work is, He must reign until He shall have put down all authority and all insubordination, and shall have brought everything into harmony with God, and shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. The Scriptures say that He must reign a thousand years. Therefore, we see that when His presence came in 1874 it was intended to last the whole thousand years. Now when we speak of it in that way, we do not mean to have it understood that the Lord must stand at one particular place on earth, or that He is to stand on the earth at all; because spirit beings do not need to have platforms, etc., to stand on. We are not to think of it as meaning that the Lord has a fixed place, and that He cannot get away from the earth. That is not the thought we wish to give at all. That is not our thought. Our thought is, [Q72] that our Lord came for the purpose of reigning, and He will not give up that purpose nor that work. He may go to and from the heavenly Father's presence, and the Church may also go to and from the heavenly Father's presence, but still their work is in connection with the earth, and this is their kingdom, just as President Roosevelt is supposed to be in this country while he is president of the country, yet he sometimes makes journeys to Cuba, or he may go to Panama, or somewhere else, and he has really gone out of the country; yet in a sense he is still in the country, because, if he has gone to Panama, he has left certain persons to represent the presidential office in Washington; and he is still president, whether he is in Washington or in Oyster Bay. So, with our Lord Jesus during all the Millennial Age; He will still be the reigning King of earth, just the same as we say now He has ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us. He is set down at the right hand of the majesty of God on High, but that does not mean that God is sitting in a great place and never moves from it, or that Jesus has sat down there and that he has not gone away all the time that he has been at the right hand of God's majesty, but in the sense that He is next to the Father; He is the one next in honor, and dignity to the Father, and He will always maintain that; He will be at the right hand of the Father when He is reigning as a King on the earth; as we say, speaking of the second coming of Christ, the Son of Man shall come in glory at the right hand of the Father. When He is coming in the clouds with great power and glory, He will be at the right hand of the Father all of that time.
CHRONOLOGY--Closing of the Door.
QUESTION (1907)--1--Is it not reasonable to suppose that we may expect in due time an announcement through the TOWER that the door of opportunity for consecration is closed?
ANSWER.--I think not. I see, dear friends, from different questions that come to me from different places, that thought is prevailing, and I may have been guilty of having started it for all I know. That is about the closing of the door. Now, everyone has a right to use language in his own way, and as long as he keeps within certain bounds, no one can say he is talking amiss. So, we can talk about the door of opportunity closing, but I wish you to notice that the Bible does not speak of the door of opportunity closing. Undoubtedly there will come a time when the opportunity to spread the truth will be more or less hampered, when things will be greatly curtailed, and people, perhaps, who are opposed to us may try to make out that we are in some manner or form anarchists. The idea is growing that all anarchy should be put down, and we are in full sympathy with that. We think anarchists are unreasonable and unsafe people, and that they should be restrained. But we expect the time to come, not many years hence, when some will say of us, "You are anarchists, against the government, and against the Churches." And they will have power with the government, and there will be laws passed that will squeeze the anarchists, and then we will be squeezed in with them, so as to get rid of us to some extent. You might call that perhaps, in some sense, the closing of the door of opportunity [Q73] to proclaim the truth. We know that cannot come until God is ready. In the meantime, we can expect that the truth is going to have a very wide circulation.
My expectation, dear friends, is different from that of a good many. I know some of the Lord's people are thinking the harvest work is about done now, but as I have been telling you for some years back that my understanding is the work is not nearly done; there is a whole lot more work to do. We had in the Watch Tower office about three years ago a change in our method of keeping the list of Tower subscribers from books to the card system. We had an arrangement made for holding the cards, and the question arose, how large we should make it. I said, We will make it large enough for fifty-five thousand. Some said, O, that is too large. No, I said, I think we are going to need most of that space for 55,000 subscribers to the Tower. Now, we have not yet got them, but we think they are going to come in. Our expectancy is there will be large numbers of people coming into a measure of the truth, and a measure of sympathy, and there are people in all the denominations who are true saints at heart, and have been more or less blinded and confused by churchianity, and they supposed things were more like what they saw on the outside, as Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees that people looked on the outside and saw that they were beautiful and whitewashed, and Jesus said that inwardly they were full of all manner of impurity. So the people of all denominations are beginning to wake up and look about them and say. What does this mean? Am I wrong? Am I so fanatical that I cannot be in sympathy with other people? It is not they that are wrong; it is the institutions that are wrong; and their hearts are searching for the Lord, for there is a famine, not for bread or for water, but for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. Some of this class are beginning to see that they are hungry. Now, we believe that class is everywhere within your reach and mine, and that the Lord is giving us a great privilege in hunting for them.
You remember that only in one place in the Scriptures do they speak of the door shutting, and that is in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. And there it says, the Bridegroom came. We apply that to the year 1874, and this was called to the attention of the wise virgins, "Behold the Bridegroom"--not behold the Bridegroom cometh, but behold the Bridegroom, as representing His presence, and then all the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, and some of them had oil in their vessels as well as their lamps. Now, you know what the lamp is, and what the vessel is which carried the Holy Spirit. You must have both. If you are without oil, then something is wrong. You must get the oil or you cannot be one of the wise virgins, and you remember the wise virgins went with the Bridegroom in to the marriage and the door was shut. Now, that is the door of the parable. When did the door shut? After the wise virgins had gone in. What does that mean? It means after the last one of the Little Flock has made his calling and election sure, and has been tested sufficiently, and has been passed as a successful one, and the high calling is ended, and the last one has gone beyond the vail, that the door is shut. That is the parable. Then afterwards came the other [Q74] virgins, the foolish virgins, that had gotten oil in the in the meantime. Yes, they got the experience, and development, and the knowledge, and the light, and then they came, and knocked and said, We are a little bit late, but let us in please. We heard about this, but we did not have the oil in our lamps. But, the answer comes, "I cannot recognize you. The whole company, the elect company, is all in. I cannot recognize you." What will they do? They will pass through the great time of trouble, as the parable shows, and there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The time of trouble that will come on the whole world will cause a great amount of anguish, and disappointment, and sorrow, in these ways, represented by that familiar expression, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
CHRONOLOGY--Plowman and Reaper.
QUESTION (1908)--1--"Behold the days cometh, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper." When shall this be?
ANSWER.--Well, it seems to be a figure of speech that is pointing down to the end of this age. Look, for instance, at the Jewish Age. When the Jewish Age came to an end and the harvest of that age was ripe, the Lord called it a "harvest;" He said He was the reaper and He Himself went out and began a reaping work amongst the Jews then. And then came the plowman, before the reaping was done and before the harvest was all over. Who was the plowman? Why, the Lord and the Apostles, preaching the glorious message. There was a double work being accomplished:--there not only reaping the Jewish people, but following that began the work of preparing for the new dispensation, the Gospel dispensation; a new dispensation altogether was ushered in. So one overlapped on to the other. So similarly in the end of this age, the reaping work is the close of the age; the harvest is the end of the age. In the time of the harvest the Lord sends forth the reapers, and the reaping work is now going on. But that is not the end of God's plan; there is another dispensation about to he ushered in and that is to be the time for sowing the great field with the true seed; and now in the time of harvest, the plowman is already beginning and he is overtaking the reapers. The reaper is hardly out of the way before the plowman comes along. What do you mean by that? Why, I mean this harvest work will hardly have accomplished its intention, and gathered the little flock and the great company into the great barn of the Lord until the plowman of trouble will be running his furrows through the world; and in the time of the gathering of the great company, the time of trouble will be on the world.
CHRONOLOGY-Closing of Door.
QUESTION (1909)--2--Will you please give us your thought as regards the closing of the door; do you expect it to close soon?
ANSWER.--Inadvertently we have used this expression of closing the door in two ways. At times we have used it in respect to the work that is to be done until the close of the age, until the opportunity for service shall shut down as represented in the parable, and no more laborers will be admitted. Apparently no others were admitted during the twelfth hour, but we do not know when that door will close. It is open now and may stand open all this [Q75] year, and I cannot say how long it will stand open, how soon the eleventh hour will close and the twelfth hour will begin. We may have something to say on that subject in the Watch Tower. That is also one of those thoughts that is working, but it has not worked satisfactorily yet.
Then as to the other door, in the parable of the "Wise and Foolish Virgins," the Wise Virgins followed Him and then went in with Him and the door was closed; then followed the Foolish Virgins and knocked at the door, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us," but the door was shut. That is the door through which the Bride-class will enter, and when it is shut, it will never open again. To my understanding that door and the door to service should be kept separate. That door the King will close when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have finished his sacrifice, and gone beyond the vail, the complete number will be gathered and enter into glory. When that will be I do not know. Perhaps not for a year or maybe more, after the door to service has closed. There will be a time of testing to prove those who have already entered the door of service.
CHRONOLOGY--Re Eleventh Hour.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Is the eleventh hour the last hour before the night when no man can work?
QUESTION (1909)--2--How much time space should we understand from the beginning of the eleventh hour to its close.?
QUESTION (1909)--3--If our Lord came in 1874 has the Church been without an Advocate since that time?
ANSWER.--No. He is our Advocate whether He is present or not. He always has access to the Father, and we are not separate; so as the Head of the Body He represents the Body. Does your head represent your body, or your hand? Your head always.
CHRONOLOGY--Overthrow Zedekiah Re Gentile Times.
QUESTION (1909)--4--In 2 Kings 25:3-6; Jer. 39:2-5, Jer. 52:6-9, it is stated that the overthrow of Zedekiah occurred on the 9th day of the 4th month. As the year referred to throughout Kings is the Sacred Year, beginning about April of our calendar, the 9th day of the 4th month would correspond to about July 1st. The overthrow of Zedekiah marks the beginning of the Gentile Times, and if this occurred in July, would not the Times of the Gentiles end in July? Would it be July, 1914, or July, 1915?
ANSWER.--Well, I do not know; I have not thought particularly along that line, and for the few months difference you had better take the earlier date and make sure.
CHRONOLOGY--Re End of Gentile Times.
QUESTION (1909)--5--If the "Times of the Gentiles" began in October, 606 B.C., will they not end in October, 1915, instead of October, 1914? [Q76]
ANSWER.--We think not. If the brother or sister who wrote the question will go over the chronology, they will find that these Times will end in October, 1914. You should remember that in figuring chronology you count backward from A.D. for the 606, and forward from A.D. for the 1914.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Should we consider it necessary to call attention to other Prominent dates than 1874, 1878, 1881 or 1914? Should 1911 be included.?
ANSWER.--I am glad that question is there, my dear brothers and sisters. You will notice that in my own teachings and writings I am careful to avoid any other dates than these. I know nothing about other dates.
In the third volume of Scripture Studies there is a suggestion, but it is offered only as a suggestion, merely that a certain measurement in the Pyramid (not in the Word of God) looks as though it might point down to 1910 or 1911, but we do not say that it does mean anything, but merely throw out a suggestion. Don't anticipate, don't say things are to occur, for we do not know, at least I don't, and don't believe anyone else does. My advice is to follow the Apostle when he says, "We speak those things that we know." Don't say anything about those things that you do not know. Quite likely you will wish you had not after a while. Nineteen hundred and fourteen is the time when the "Gentile Times" will end. What does that mean? I do not know, but I think it is when God lets go in a general sense of the word, and permits things to take their course; and we can readily suppose, as the Apostle says, that the course of nature would be set on fire, because of strife. In the world of mankind, I shall expect a time of great trouble, which the Bible marks out as having its beginning about October, 1914, but I think, dear friends, that it is more important, instead of telling of the time of trouble, to tell about the good things. The poor people who get into the time of trouble will have all they want of it then. I have enough now, and so have you. The Scriptures say that through much tribulation shall we enter the kingdom, and if we pay attention to our duties, we will get enough without taking time to tell them about the time of trouble. The world will not be profited by our telling, either. We do not wish to scare anybody. We see the bad effects of this scare-religion in times past. While we can tell them that there is a storm coming, we can also tell them that God is going to make that a blessing, and we are glad for the whole world of mankind, that this time of refreshing is near, "Speak of the time of rest that nears." They have enough tribulation, and I advise not to talk too much about the tribulation.
I think of one brother who had a large bump of imagination, who told his wife all about the time of trouble and told it as though he had been there already, telling her what flour would be a barrel at that time, etc., etc., so that his poor wife was almost afraid of the Truth. If he had said, My dear, there is a time of trouble coming and those who make the Lord their refuge, he will have a supervising care over them, I think it would have had a better effect. I [Q77] have very little faith in any kind of scare religion, it does not work well.
I say, not at all. You have plenty, dear friends, to preach and the Apostle says, "We preach Christ." Brother Russell is very glad if the Lord has used him as a finger-board to point the right road for your eyes, that you can see wonderful things in the Word of God, but it is not Brother Russell, but it is the Lord that has used him. As you see the finger-board points out it is so many miles to Jamestown, it is not the finger-board, but the person that painted and put it there that is to be appreciated. So my advice is that you do not search the Scriptures to find anything about Brother Russell, but that you search to find things about the "glorious One" whom we all reverence. You remember we had already pointed to it 15 years ago and made this statement applicable. You remember that John the Revelator had seen this and that, and other things, and he said he fell at the feet of the angel who showed me these things, saying, "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
That is the right thought, but there is a tendency in this direction, and a danger to worship the creature, or instrumentality, rather than the Creator who uses the instrumentality. Let us not make that mistake. I do not want any to make that mistake through any inadvertency on my part.
CHRONOLOGY--Pyramid Re 1910.
QUESTION (1910)--1--What event is to take place in 1910, which is pointed out in the Pyramid?
ANSWER.--I do not know. There are many people who can tell you a great deal more about 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1913 than I can. All I know is there are certain dates that seem to be well fixed as far as we understand the Scriptures--1874, 1878, 1881 and October, 1914. I do not know about anything between at all. If other people do, they have a right to talk about it.
But do you not say something in the third volume of Scripture studies about 1910? Yes, I said we might take a measurement up over that step. We do not know whether there is anything to be measured that way or not, but suppose we do take a measurement over the top of that step: It would indicate about the year 1910. But I do not know whether God meant something to be marked for 1910 or not. I think by the time we have passed that time, we might see something perhaps for 1910. Perhaps we have gotten up on that step now, for all I know. Things are going along pretty rapidly just now, dear friends.
CHRONOLOGY--Dates Before 1914.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Does the Society sanction all the pilgrims say concerning 1911 and 1912? I have noticed in our congregation that the elders who do not agree with all the pilgrims say concerning those dates, are thought to be out of harmony with the Society. What is best to do in that connection?
ANSWER.--I have tried and am still trying to influence all the pilgrim brethren against the preaching of any time period this side of October, 1914, where 1915 Jewish time begins. [Q78] I think it is very unwise to be preaching anything else. Now you know the liberal way in which we try to do these things. We try to find as little fault as possible with anyone who has a good character, and is seemingly accomplishing a good work; we try to exercise as little of a grasp on them as to what they shall say as possible; but it is not with any consent of mine, nor with any endorsement of mine, nor of the Society of which I have the honor to be the head, that any pilgrim brother make any preachment respecting any dates this side of October, 1914. And I advise all the dear friends that you have nothing positive to put your finger on--you merely have some guesses and some surmises, and it is wise to avoid these guessings and surmisings and to stand fast by what we do know. I think it is the safer plan. We certainly urge on all the dear pilgrims and elders, and upon all, that they try to have the one mind. I would not mind saying this, and it is not preaching time at all: Someone says to me, Brother Russell, I think I see something that might be construed to mean that the organization of the Federation which you have been talking about, is coming next year.
Well, I say, Brother, perhaps you do and perhaps you do not. I do not know, and I am looking for it, and have been looking for it right along; it is not going to make any particular difference to me whether they organize their Federation this year or next year; I am leaving that in the Lord's hands. I do not know that it would make a particle of difference whether they organize this year, or the next year, or the year after. The Lord has the whole matter in his supervision, and you and I have plenty to do; we do not need to worry about these things that are speculative. We have so much that is positive, and that, I think, is what we do well to impress upon ourselves and upon others.
CHRONOLOGY--When Jesus Will Drink the New Wine.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Would our Lord have any definite time in mind when He used the words as recorded in Mat. 26:29, "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father's Kingdom?"
ANSWER.--I would suppose that the Master meant by "that day" what is frequently meant by that same expression "that day" as in contrast with these six days, that great seventh day, the Millennial day, the thousand year day of His Kingdom: in that day we will have joy.
CHRONOLOGY--When Is End of the Harvest?
QUESTION (1913)--2--If the Harvest be a period of forty years, and the Harvest message went forth in 1881 with the chartering of the "Watch Tower," would not the Harvest end in 1921?
ANSWER.--We have never thought of giving the "Watch Tower" so important a place as that. Anyway, the "Watch Tower" was started in 1879, and the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" was started in 1880, and the mere matter of getting a charter for it does not signify that it was not existent before that time. The getting of a charter does not make a society. You can form a society without a charter, but it is limited. The Society is just as much a society if two or three of you make it without a [Q79] charter, as if five hundred make it with a charter; it is a society all the same, an association. In any case, we think this has nothing to do with the matter. Our thought is that the Harvest is marked by the presence of the Lord, and the Reaper's presence indicates a time of harvest. From the prophecies we believe that the Lord became present as Reaper in 1874. It is the prophecies, we think, that mark the Harvest beginning, rather than any other thing.
CHRONOLOGY--Sealing Saints Re 1914.
QUESTION (1914)--1--Do you think the saints will all be sealed by October, 1914, whether they are here or not?
ANSWER.--Our supposition has been--and we, of course, supposed that we were looking at it from the Bible standpoint--our supposition has been that during the period that we call the Gentile Times the whole work of God in the selection of the Church would be completed. Perhaps it would be just as well for me to give you a brief summary of why we think that 1914 is the particular date, and what has been accomplished and should be expected to be accomplished during that interim or period. I remind you, then, that God once had in the world a typical people, and that these people He organized into a typical kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, and on the throne of the typical kingdom He placed a typical king. David being the representative of that kingly line, the Lord promised him, "There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel," of his seed; and so we read of David's son, Solomon, and how Solomon sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord--not upon David's throne--upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. It was God's throne, it was God's Kingdom, only in a typical way. Solomon followed David, and Solomon's son followed him, and so there was a continuation of the Davidic line for a certain time. Then there came a time when God stopped that order of things. The last king of David's line who reigned over the people of Israel was King Zedekiah, and to him and of him God said at that time, "O, thou profane and wicked prince, whose time is come for iniquity to have an end. This shall not be the same (I will discontinue this order of things), this shall not be the same. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it until He come whose right it is, and I will give it unto him." Now, then, you see, there was David's line. "There shall not fail thee a man to sit upon thy throne forever." And so for all these years God kept the tribe of Judah in a prominent place, and David's posterity sat upon the throne as long as it continued. But in Zedekiah God discontinued that earthly kingdom, and there has been no earthly Kingdom of God from that time on. He was the last of the order of David. The people of Israel, you remember, were carried into Babylonian captivity. They came back afterward from the Babylonian captivity, but they never had any kings of David's line, and they never had any kings of their own at all. The Maccabees did endeavor to have a kingdom, you remember, but unsuccessfully; but they were not of the promised line of David; and then down to the time of the first advent there were certain kings of the Herodian line but Herod's line was not David's line. Indeed the kingdom of Herod was not of a Jewish line at all. They were of Esau and not Jews at all. So then, according [Q80] to history and according to prophecy, Zedekiah was the last king of David's line that sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. What happened then? Well, God has had no typical kingdom, from the time of Zedekiah down to when? Down to now. In all that time He has had no kingdom in the earth. Well, but, you say, Brother Russell, there have been some who claimed to be the Kingdom of God. Oh, yes, my brethren, and so the Bible tells us about the kingdoms of this world, but they are not the Kingdom of God. We are still praying, "Thy kingdom come." And it will be Messiah's kingdom that will come then. There will be no inferior substitution in the mean time. On the contrary, when God took away the kingdom from His own nation, the seed of Abraham, He gave the dominion of the world, by a kind of leasehold, to the Gentiles. And Jesus referred to that, you remember, in speaking of the "times of the Gentiles." And He says that the times, or years, of the Gentiles would continue until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. When He used these words He was thinking about the fact that Jerusalem would be completely overwhelmed and destroyed, as it was destroyed in the year 70, and Jesus said it would continue to be destroyed until the completion of the Gentile Times.
Well, when did the Gentile times begin? We answer that they began where God's typical kingdom ended when the crown was removed from Zedekiah. Well, what happened at that time to indicate that Gentile times began then? Oh, something very important occurred. At that time there were various nations in the world larger than the people of Israel. There was Egypt, and the Babylonians, and other nations, but these were two of the other nations near to Israel. And Babylonia became very great, and the greatness of Babylonia dates especially from the time of the overthrow of Israel. At that time God recognized Babylonia as being the first of the Gentile kingdoms that would have control of the world, and it became the Universal Empire. You remember it was about that time that Nebuchadnezzar had that very peculiar dream, a dream that impressed him so much in his sleep, that when he awakened he simply remembered that it was a very important dream, but he could not think what it was. Then he called his wise men and said, "I have had a dream, and I cannot tell you now what it was. Tell me the dream and the interpretation of it." And they said, O, king, this is a difficult matter. Tell us the dream and we will interpret it. But we can't tell what the dream was. No king has ever asked his wise men to tell a dream and the interpretation as well. But the king said, O, well, if you can't tell me the dream you don't know what the proper interpretation is. It would be easy for you to fix up an interpretation if I were to tell you the dream. Anybody could do that. If you were able to tell the dream and the interpretation, well and good. If you had any real wisdom from the gods you could tell just as easily what the dream is. Go ahead now. If you can't tell what the dream is, I will know you are fraudulent, and I will put every one of you to death. And so there was great fear, you remember, and finally, amongst those wise men was Daniel, who had been carried captive to Babylon as a young man at a previous time of the war, about eighteen year [Q81] before Zedekiah lost his crown. And Daniel, the prophet, came forward and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O, king, live forever. Let not the king be hasty in this matter. Let time be given, and the God of Heaven will answer the king's question and we will tell the king what the dream was." And the king was very anxious to have his dream explained and to know what it was, and so he said, "Very well, we'll give you time." At the appointed time Daniel appeared before the king and said, "O, king, this was the dream, for the God of Heaven has revealed it unto me: Thou sawest in thy vision of thy head upon thy bed, and behold a great and mighty image; the height was tremendous; and the head was of gold, and the breast and arms were of silver and the belly and thighs of brass and the legs were of iron, and the feet were of iron and miry clay; and thou beheld, O king, until a stone was cut out of the mountains without hands and it smote the image in the feet thereof, and then the iron and clay and brass and silver and gold all became as the chaff of the summer's threshing floor and the wind carried them all away, and the stone that smote the image on the feet, it grew and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." And the king said, That's exactly my dream. You've got it exactly. Now I know you have some way of telling about that dream. Come on, now, and tell me the interpretation. So Daniel proceeded to give the interpretation, and he said, "Thou, O king, art the head of gold. Thy kingdom is the first one in that image." Why? Were there not others before? Because, previous to that time God had had His own kingdom in the world, and there couldn't be any other universal empire as long as God's kingdom was in the world. So now is the start, you see. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was the head. It was recognized from that moment, from the time that God through the prophet had said, "Remove the diadem (from Zedekiah), take off the crown; I will overturn it," and meantime, while it is overturned, God gave the rulership to these nations represented in the image. The head was Babylon, the silver breast and arms Medo-Persia, the belly and thighs were the government of Grecia, when Greece was the universal empire, and then came the legs of iron, representing the Roman Empire in its days of greatness and power. Then came the feet, representing what is called the Holy Roman Empire, that is to say, a mixture of religious and civil power, and in these feet the miry clay mixed with the iron represented an imitation of the stone. Now, imagine the feet there, a certain part of iron, and miry clay all smeared over those feet, would look very much like the stone which hit the feet, wouldn't they? And that is what the Lord represented, you see. The miry clay represented the religious institutions of the present time, commingling with the civil power of the present time. On the one part it is claimed, for instance, that Great Britain is a civil power. On the other hand it is claimed that Great Britain is an ecclesiastical power, and the bishop of the church of England sits in the Parliaments of England in the House of Lords, with the civil lords, and thus they are mixing the miry clay, represented in human, earthly church systems, and secular power, that claim to be God's kingdom, combining it with the strength that there really is [Q82] in the civil power. The same thing is true of Catholicism. The same thing is true of the Greek Catholic Church in Russia, etc., as they all claim, they use the civil power and they have the ecclesiastical system in outward appearance--it appears religious, but the strength of all is in the civil power. It is merely an imitation of God's kingdom, and not the real thing. It belongs to the kingdoms of this world. And so the kingdoms of earth today calling themselves God's kingdoms are just as much civil governments as they ever were, only they are not as honest; not that the people are necessarily dishonest, but that they have got the wrong ideas in their minds, and they are fully convinced along the lines of error.
Now, then, the great image was a picture, of what? The Gentile governments that should bear rule over all the earth. How long? The whole period of that image, from the head, Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar's time, down to the feet and toes of the kingdom of the present time. That whole image represents the Gentile governments, and the times of the Gentiles is the period between the time that image was set up or came into power, and the time that that stone is to smite the image upon the feet and crush its power.
Do not think, dear friends, that I am saying for a minute that you and I are to strike the image. Oh, no! God has given us no such commission. It is the heavenly Father that will do the smiting, and you and I have nothing to do with that; but so long as these various civil governments have the power, you and I are to recognize that God gave this power to these Gentile governments, and we are not to seek to disrupt that power; we are not to fight against these governments: we are to recognize these governments, because, as St. Paul tells us, "The powers that be are ordained of God." He authorized them to be. He did not say they were His kingdoms, and when any of these kingdoms claim to be God's kingdom they are telling that which is fraudulent and wrong. They are Gentile kingdoms, outside of God's kingdom. The word Gentile in the Scriptures stands for outsiders, those who are not God's people. This word Gentile, that is also translated "heathen," is the same word that is translated "Gentiles", interchangeably. So that all these kingdoms represent the Gentile image, that Gentile, or heathen kingdom--not God's kingdom.
Where had God's kingdom been? Oh, not prominent, but subject. The Jews, after their return from Babylon never were a free people. They were always subject to one or another of the civil powers. One or another of the great nations ruled over the world, and ruled over them. They were under the Medo-Persian and under the Grecians and under the Romans; and now they are more or less subject to the "Holy Roman Empire": as they have suffered as much, perhaps, at the hands of the Holy Roman Empire as they have suffered from any of the others.
So then it is during this time that God has permitted the Gentiles to rule the world, we understand He has been doing another work, namely, the gathering out of the world a people, a Kingdom class, and the Apostle Peter speaks of this, saying to the Church, you remember, "Ye are a holy nation, [Q83] a peculiar people, a royal priesthood." You and I belong to that--not that we are the finished priesthood yet. The real royal priesthood will be that priesthood, or that portion of us that will attain unto the first resurrection and will be joint heirs with our Lord in the heavenly glory, having made our calling and election sure, having been fully baptized into Christ's death, and we shall also be risen with Him in that day of glory. But while that is the hope of the Church, we are not in that Kingdom yet, in its fullest sense. We are not yet brought into the Kingdom proper. We are the ones who are to be the Kingdom class, if we are found to be faithful to the Lord. Faithful is He who hath called us into that Kingdom honor, and who will also do it and, as Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." But He has not given it to you yet. He is going to give it to you at the end of this age. He is going to give it to you when the Master himself comes into the great place of power to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then we also shall reign with Him and be like Him and share His glory.
Now then, when will Christ's Kingdom come? Well, we answer, not until these great kingdoms have reached their culmination. What will that be? That will be the end of the Gentile Times. So, then, when God said to Zedekiah, "I will overturn this crown and this kingdom until He comes whose right it is," it means that there will be an interval, without God's Kingdom, from the days of Zedekiah down to the day of the establishment of the real Kingdom of God, in which Christ is the great King over all the earth, and He tells us that when He shall appear in His glory, we shall appear with Him in glory. But that isn't yet.
Now, dear friends, our expectation has been that these Gentile times would finish with the present year, 1914, and that with the finishing of the Gentile times, forthwith, immediately, God's kingdom would begin to manifest itself. I do not know yet that this is not true. It will have to be shown. Perhaps somebody can prove that it is not true, but I do not think anyone yet can prove that it is not true. If we come to the full end of 1914 and nothing transpires following that time to indicate the establishment of Christ's Kingdom amongst mankind, then perhaps we will have to reconsider matters; but not until then will it be necessary for us to reconsider. It is for the other party to prove that it will not be so.
Why do you think it will be in October, 1914 (we are making a good deal out of this question, but I infer that this is just as interesting to you as some other part of the questions would be)? Why do we think that 1914 should be the consummation of Gentile times? What reason have you for thinking that it will come in 1914 any more than in 1910 or 1920? This reason: We endeavored to find the date on which the kingdom was taken away from Israel, the date on which the crown was taken from Zedekiah, the date on which the kingdom of Israel there ceased, the kingdom of Judah there ceased and went into absolute captivity and the city of Jerusalem went into destruction. Now what year was that? We understand, as nearly as we are able to calculate: we do not claim infallibility, but as nearly as we are able to know, from all the history there is to be known, we believe that to [Q84] be the year 606 B.C. We will not go into all the proofs. That would take us all afternoon, and you have it in print, you have read it for yourselves and you know whether you believe it or whether you do not believe it and you were not urged to believe it. I simply set before you what I found there, what seemed to be, to me, the most reasonable answer to this matter, and you believed as much of it or as little of it as appealed to your heart.
Now then, suppose it were the year 606, what would that have to do with 1914? Why, this, my dear friends: We found that there were two things stated in the Bible, one in respect to natural Israel and the other in respect to these Gentile Times. In respect to natural Israel it seems to be quite clearly pointed out that they would have "seven times" of very severe, trying experiences and punishments from God, discipline, disciplinary punishments. And these seven times of Israel's chastisement, as God foretold in the book of Leviticus, were not seven literal years, because they had many more chastisements than seven literal years. We believe, therefore, that they were seven symbolical years, and a symbolical year in Bible usage is three hundred and sixty years, corresponding, you see, to the lunar month, the lunar year--three hundred and sixty days, and so, three hundred and sixty years, a day for a year. And so seven years, or seven times, is seven times three hundred and sixty, which would be twenty-five hundred and twenty. And similarly, therefore, twenty-five hundred and twenty years would seem to be the measure of Israel's subjection to the Gentile governments, 2,520 years. Well, were they subject to the first? Yes. To whom? To Nebuchadnezzar. Were they subject to Medo-Persia? Yes. Were they subject to the Grecians, represented by the brass? Yes. And the Romans, represented by the iron? Yes. They have been subject since then? You know they have been subject. Twenty-five hundred and twenty years, come this fall, as nearly as we are able to reckon. What does that mean? Why, that means that the time for Israel's deliverance from Gentile dominion should be the end of this year. Well, what will that mean? Well, we do not know yet what it will mean, but we rather think there will be something or other, either in the way of the downfall of these kingdoms represented in the image, or in some other way it will be shown that God's favor is returning or has returned in special form to Israel. Are there any signs along that line? Yes, some signs; for instance, we have the Zionistic movement, which began only quite recently, and this Zionism is looking just in that direction, hoping for the restoration of national power to the Jewish people--hoping for it, desiring it, laboring for it. And where did the Jews get that idea? Ah, we are not wise enough to say. We should not wonder at all if the Spirit of the Lord stirred them up at the appropriate time to look for and wait for and strive for the restoration of their national entity at the right time. We believe so.
Well now, what about the other things? What about the Church? What about these Gentiles? Well, we answer, that similarly there are seven times marked out for the Gentiles; and their times began at the same period, at the same time, we believe, the year 606 B.C., and the seven times of the Gentiles is just as long--2,520 years, and measure down, we [Q85] believe, to the end of the year 1914 and the beginning of the year 1915. What should we expect then? Why, we should expect that by the end of 1914 the lease of power, this great lease that God gave to the Gentiles, the times of the Gentiles, would expire. And what would this mean? Why, you have lived in a house, and perhaps your lease has expired, and with the expiration of the lease the landlord sends you a notice to quit and get out. So I presume that the Gentiles will be served with a notice to quit. And just what that will mean to the Gentiles I am not wise enough to know. And if you do not quit and give possession of the house according to your lease, if you do not do so peaceably and quietly, in all probability the officer would come 'round and put you out on to the street. And so I am not expecting that the Gentiles know anything about this notice to quit, and they are not thinking of quitting at all. King Edward has no thought of saying, "Here, Lord, here is my crown, take it, please, and begin your reign." And the czar of Russia, his cousin, has no thought of doing that, and the other great kings of the world know nothing about the Messiah and His Kingdom. They do not realize the facts in the case. We are not blaming them at all, but we see that they are not prepared to quit. But we believe they are going to have a notice to quit, and they are quite unprepared for it. What do you think it will mean? Why, I think it will be about time. Well, how will it be done? Now, that takes more wisdom than I have. Well, you might say, it would necessarily mean, of course, that God would use some good people to put them out. Oh, not necessarily, my dear brother. Not necessarily. The officer who comes to put you out of the house might not be a good man at all. He might be a very rough and tumble sort of fellow that would come to set your stuff out. And so God sometimes uses the wrath of man, and the wrath of the devil, to praise Him, and He may use some other power. For aught I know, He may use anarchy to put these kingdoms out. It is not for me to say. I do not know. I merely know that you and I are commissioned to follow peace toward all men. We are not the ones to put them out. Therefore we can sit still, with great equanimity of mind, and say, When God's time comes, whenever it is, the Gentile lease will terminate and He will oust them from their positions, no matter how strong they may seem to be, and the Kingdom will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High God, the Kingdom and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heavens, as Daniel describes it, and the people of the saints of the Most High God will take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom forever, even forever and ever. That means a long while. We don't believe that the Gentiles will be given another lease. We believe they were merely given this lease in the interim, because God's time had not yet come for the establishment of His Kingdom.
Now, then, about the Church. That is the essence of this question, and the rest has been marginal. About the Church: We have understood that the Church is all to be gathered out before that time, because Jesus seemed to imply that in some of His statements. He said, for instance, speaking of the kingdom of the world: "Watch ye, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things coming upon the world," and so we think it is not unreasonable that we should [Q86] say, if these things are coming upon the world as it is declared, when the times of the Gentiles have expired, if these things are to be a great time of trouble as the Bible says, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, we say, if we are going to escape them, why, we suppose that we will be translated, or changed or something, having our resurrection change, before that time. So now that wasn't bad reasoning, was it? Even if it should be found to be wrong in the end, it doesn't seem to be illogical to my head, and I am not ashamed of it at all. Other people may be if they like, I am not. Well, now, is there any possibility that we might not be there? Yes, there is a possibility. There are two ways of escaping trouble. You might escape the trouble and be right in it. Is not that so? Yes, it is. A good many people think I have been in a peck of trouble for several years past. I have been escaping it all, my dear friends. If I look very much troubled, why I belie my feelings; I am not troubled a bit. I only wish that my enemies could have just as good a time, and especially all my friends (laughter and hand clapping). Well, now, the Lord may have something of that character for us, and for all I know the Church may be here during that time of trouble or during a portion of that time of trouble. There is nothing in the Bible that says just as soon as the Gentile times are ended all the Church will be glorified. The Church may be here after the trouble is begun, perhaps. Perhaps. It is possible. We'll see. And we'll be content whatever we see, won't we! That is the situation, dear friends! "Content, whatever lot I see, since 'tis my God that leadeth me." Could we be otherwise than content with God's leading? We may be sure that all the leadings of our Heavenly Father and of our Heavenly Lord will all be for good, that we will have every reason to enjoy His leadings. He doeth all things well.
And do you think, Brother Russell, that all the saints will be sealed? Well, now, the sealing, we understand, dear friends, is a work that begins with the Holy Spirit operating upon our hearts at the very time that we begin to do the will of God. The Apostle speaks of this sealing of the Holy Spirit. The sealing, you know, as it was done in olden times, was done with a seal--an instrument of hard metal or stone, usually a stone, impressing upon soft wax and giving a certain impress there that can be distinguished afterward. And so God, accepting us as His people, our hearts becoming very tender, and we as New Creatures giving ourselves fully to Him, has begun the work of impressing His character and likeness upon us, and we are in the process of being sealed with the Holy Spirit; and that sealing work has been going on, hasn't it? Yes, you know something about it. Yes, thank God you do! Well, there is a further sealing mentioned in the book of Revelation, you remember. There is a sealing in their foreheads; and something mentioned in Revelation as not having been common to the people of God, but as being opportune, and transpiring, in the end of the age; and we read, you remember, that the four angels are holding back the four winds; that the great time of trouble (I am not giving you the exact words), that the time of trouble should not break loose upon the world until the servants of God had been [Q87] sealed in their foreheads. Now that is a different sealing, you see. As Christians, we have always had, from the beginning of our experiences, the sealing process in our hearts, the character likeness of our Lord made more and more prominent, and so had our fathers and our grandfathers and all the Church of Christ had that sealing work going on in the heart. But now this sealing in the forehead signifies the giving, or impressing, intellectually. Has that been going on for a while? Yes, my dear brother, and you know it. Just as surely as you have had any of that sealing in the forehead you are aware that your intellect is sharper and brighter and clearer. You understand God's character, you understand God's plan, you understand God's Word as you never did before. And this sealing process is to continue until what? Until all the number that belong to the Elect Church shall have been sealed in their foreheads. Will there not be many of the saintly ones of God's people left in ignorance? Not one! Not one! All of the one hundred and forty-four thousand that shall stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion will all of them be sealed in their foreheads; not necessarily all of the 144,000 in the flesh, because they have been selected throughout the whole age, you know; but all who belong to that class who will be living in the end of this age will have the sealing in this way; and the others that belong to that class, by experiencing the resurrection they get their sealing in still a more thorough manner, if you please; but the entire 144,000 receive this sealing in their foreheads, this intellectual knowledge of which this is a picture. So we believe it must be. So it has been in process. A part of the work that you and I rejoice in having the privilege of having a part in is this work of helping to bring to others the knowledge of God's character and plan. The pilgrim work and the scattering of tracts and the Photo Drama of Creation and the colporteur work and every other part of the work is with a view to helping our fellow Christians to have this sealing in their foreheads, to get a clear, intellectual understanding of God's plan.
And some can't see it at all. Why not? Because they are not drawn by God to receive it. And others do receive it. Yes, because to them it is given to receive it. Just as Jesus said in the end of His age, to some, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to all outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings, that hearing they might hear and not understand." It is not for them to understand. In other words, God does not wish His plan known to everybody. He does wish it known to His consecrated people. "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence Him. He will show them His covenant." And now in the end of the age is the time, we believe, that light and knowledge is especially due to this class. "Light is sown for the righteous." St. Paul, speaking on this very subject, says, after telling about that great time of trouble that is coming upon the world, says it shall come upon them as a thief and as a snare and they shall not know, "but ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are the children of the light and the children of the day," and God will show you enough on the subject that you will not be like the world, overtaken unawares, and not knowing what to expect. So it is coming over the whole world. The Gentiles do not know what is coming. [Q88] They see the difficulties and they wonder about different things, but they do not know what is coming.
Now then, though it isn't in the question, I think it is a part of the question and perhaps as much of interest as the others here, therefore I will go on: Suppose that we should remain here! I am fully convinced that I would rather stay here if the Lord wants me to stay here. I couldn't go if He did not want me, anyway, but I am pleased to stay if it is the Lord's will. If the Lord were to say, "You can have your choice of going or staying," I think I should say, "Dear Lord, if you want me to stay, I'll stay." Wouldn't you? Of course you would.
Now there is a scripture to which we called attention in the WATCH TOWER recently, that is, two or three months ago, that leaves a little room for question whether or not the Church might be completed and somehow or other accepted in the Lord right here in the flesh, right here amongst men, and yet their destiny, so to speak, be settled, and yet we would not die--or attain to the resurrection just yet. That scripture says : "Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute the judgments written. This honor have all His saints." Now you see there's room there for the thought. Why? How? Notice the glory that these saints shall have. Some of God's people are at rest, while others are in short beds--trundle beds, so to speak, and those that are of full size are represented as having full-sized beds, etc. And the two-edged sword, what is that? Why, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now, we won't need the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in our hands after we get into the glory beyond the veil, will we? We do not think so. I doubt very much that we will use the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit after we are changed. I think we will have more powerful weapons, more spiritual weapons even than the spiritual Word of God. What more? "The high sounding praises of God upon our lips." That can just as well be on this side of the veil. So the bed seems to indicate this side of the veil, and the sword, and then the text says, "To execute the judgments written." Why, are we to execute the judgments in the flesh? I do not know. I have no idea. I am not trying to execute judgment, my dear brethren, and I will not do so until the Lord makes it very positive to me that I should. He will have to push me out and make it very plain if I am to do that. I am not going to assume that I am to use any force with anybody until he makes it positively plain. If that is it, if the time should come, He will know how to make it plain to us, and then we will do our duty, we trust, every one; but we will wait until we see. I am simply suggesting these thoughts, because we are nearing the end of 1914, and I wish to leave this thought in your mind: that there is a possibility of our not being changed this year, and that there is a possibility that the Church may be completed and yet we will not be changed. It is possible that the Gentile Times will end on time as expected, and yet the Church not be changed.
Another question I will anticipate: Suppose that the Gentile Times should end in October, 1914, what would be the logical thing to expect? Well, I am not sure what to expect. [Q89] We could not be sure, we would not know, whether it would take the Lord fifteen minutes or fifteen days or fifteen years to put out the kingdoms of this world. It is merely a guess, but one guess that we might give with a little bit of scriptural basis is this: We have seen parallelisms between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age. We have seen that the forty years of the harvest in the end of the Jewish Age corresponds with the forty years' harvest in the end of the Christian Age. We have seen that at the end of the forty years of Israel's harvest, the nation of Israel was destroyed within approximately six or seven months after the end of their harvest--a little more than six months. And so, following the same parallel, if it is a parallel (I am not sure that it is), if it is a parallel, it would seem to imply that the great trouble should be expected to come upon the world in the six months following October, 1914. Well, now, if you will wait until this time next year and see how it is, and we have another convention, then we will perhaps be wiser; but I hope we will not be any the less loyal to the Lord and His Word, whatever may be the circumstances or conditions. We did not consecrate until the end of the Gentile Times, nor did we consecrate until the end of 1914 not until the end of 1915, but we consecrated, if we consecrated properly, until death.
CHRONOLOGY--October, 1914, Re the High Calling.
QUESTION (1914)--1--Dear Brother Russell, in the event of October of this year coming and going, and you should still be in the flesh, do you think that that would be an indication that the Lord had left you out of the High Calling class?
ANSWER.--I would not. Our understanding, dear friends, respecting October, 1914, is that to the best of our judgment--judgment of the Scripture testimony, of how to read the chronology furnished in the Bible, to the best of our judgment the year 1914, the month of October, will mark the end of the Gentile times.
Now we do not know that it will be so, because there is a difference between faith and knowledge. Now we know in part on any subject more or less distinctly seen some have more accurate judgment and some less. But God does not propose that His people in the present time shall walk by sight, but by faith. That is His intention. He has not, therefore, given us on some lines that which will be positive evidence so that we may walk by sight. As for instance, He has told us about the "crown of life" laid up for us, but you have never seen it except by the eye of faith, and yet that is the very thing you are running for and spending your life for, and unless you have full faith in that crown of life, you would not be laying down your present life and seeking to live in the future.
In the matter of chronology, we remind you of what we said in the Studies in the Scriptures. It is not a thing that can positively be known. We pointed out in the Second Volume that the chronology there set forth is the best, and most accurate, according to the Bible, that we are able to determine; but we also pointed out that the Bible does not pretend to give the day the week and the month chronologically: that it gives certain periods in a lump sum, and therefore there will be always occasion to exercise faith in [Q90] connection with the chronology. We told you that in our judgment this chronology was correct, though it was admitted to be fallible and possibly might vary for a year or a few years; but that it seemed to be corroborated and made strong by the fact that certain prophecies of the Bible seemed to intermesh and interlock with it and it made the chronology of the Bible appear to us that He meant it to be used, and I am using it in my faith and I am acting according to this chronology. I believed these prophetic parts fitted into it and that it is connected with all of God's doings. There seems to be a fitness all the way down and I cannot see how they could so fit together unless God intended it, and if so, these things were for our admonition, for our instruction. So I placed upon each reader the responsibility for thinking the matter out for himself. We have as much in the Bible as we ever had, and I merely pointed out how the matter looked to me, and asked you to use your judgment.
I think the same about the chronology that I ever thought. I see no place where there is a flaw. I would not know where to put my finger on any item there and say, that is a mistake. I do not know any such place. It all looks to me as it did thirty years ago.
Perhaps I was expecting more to occur than I should have expected. I see nothing whatever to indicate to me that the chronology is in error, that our expectations are wrong. I am more convinced every day that I live that the great Divine Plan of the Ages is the only plan that could be a Divine plan; that no human being could possibly have concocted that plan. When you compare the Divine plan in the Bible with all of the human plans and theories how simple and absurd all human theories are.
Think of the thoughts given us about the doctrine of election. I need not single out any one. Take all of the creeds that have come down to us, and there is not an intelligent man in the world that would think of defending any of those creeds. They are all too absurd for the light of our day, and when we hold up the Plan of the Ages everything else on earth is put to shame and wants to get into the dark. Whether they like it or not it is so. The Great Plan shows God's knowledge of the affairs of the universe; God provided a "Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." God permitted the sin, the fall. Why He permitted sin, His intention respecting the fallen ones that they should be redeemed in due time, the time or restitution, that it should come in due time, and in the interim God would select a Church to be joint heirs with Christ in the kingdom work, is all shown in this Great Plan. You cannot make me believe that any human being could make such a plan. Sometimes I see such futile efforts of humanity for making plans. For more than 6,000 years men have been making plans for God, and they are all silly, and the part that is not silly is devilish. [Q91]
I think, so many times, that every added indication shows that it is near, even at the doors, that I cannot doubt, whether the culmination comes in 1914, 1915 or some other year, it is near, even at the doors. When I see from the Bible the record given us, as I understand, as we have presented and you have read that we have been in the harvest time ever since 1874, that this is the harvesting of Christendom, I am astonished at how true every feature of that work seems to be, of the demonstration that we are in the harvest and the work is in progress. We have had forty years of this harvest, or will have in a few months. What have we seen? According to the Bible we have understood that during this harvest time the great Chief Reaper was to be present, not known to the world but to His sheep the knowledge of His presence coming out gradually from one to another and it has been so. The parousia, the presence, unknown to the world that Jesus foretold when he told us that his coming would be "as a thief in the night," of which the Apostles said the world would all be taken by surprise and that they would not know what hour he would come, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" because ye are children of the light and of the day, therefore God would make known to you enough of the light on this subject to give you the information that we might not be in darkness with the world respecting the presence of the Lord. What are some of the evidences?
I answer Jesus himself told us what would be the special work He would do at His second coming and before He was manifest as present to the world. Before He would manifest himself to the world He would be present and do a work for the Church and that would be this. He told of the parable of the talents and the pounds, how He gave certain pounds and talents to His servants and went into a far country, Heaven itself, to be invested with kingly power and authority On His return He would first call His own servants and reckon with them. Has it been so during the past forty years? Yes. There has been a reckoning with the Lord's servants and a giving of account of how they have used the talents and blessings and opportunities that have come to them, and in proportion as they were found to have received and used these well in that same proportion they have entered into the joys of their Lord. I am not wishing to say that you and I have entered fully into the joys of our Lord yet. No, there is more. That part where we shall have rulership over two cities, five cities, etc., that will be entering into the joys to the full extent. All who have been found faithful in this harvest, when the Master has called their name and they have been found faithful to the talents they did have, will be lifted up and given the high reward of being joint heirs with Christ. These are now learning to know of the love of God which passeth understanding. This has been going on for forty years. [Q92]
The Bible says that at the time there would be such a blessing on the loyal ones of the Lord, there would be another class--a nominal class--with whom things would not be so favorable, and I believe it has been so; and I believe that is what the Bible calls a spewing out of the mouth by the Lord in connection with certain persons who have not been loyal to Him; and that work of separation has been going on as a separation of the wheat from the tares, the tares to be bound in bundles for the burning.
I will not attempt to go into details, merely touching points known to every one of us, and I am doing this merely to stimulate your pure minds by way of remembrance, rather than to say anything new. We have said all this in print and you have read it before. We are merely reminding you of it. I have believed in all of these things for over forty years and I still do.
What is the next step in order? The Bible tells us it will be the Epiphania of Jesus. What is that? The shining forth. What is to be revealed? The one whom we recognize already. We already recognize the presence of our Savior the present One, the Great Reaper, but the world knows Him not. Just as it was at the first advent. Jesus was present but the Jews knew Him not. John the Baptist said of Him, "There standeth One among you whom you know not." We believe there has been One with us during these forty years here, the Present One, the King, God has appointed, and the world knows Him not. He is not revealed unto them. He has come "as a thief in the night," getting the bride class ready, gathering out a people peculiar to himself. He is gathering the jewels, seeing to the finishing touches of their polishing, getting them ready to be set in the great diadem in the hand of God. God is getting ready these jewels, the mounting of these jewels in the diadem frame will be the installation of the Church in the Kingdom. Their change in the resurrection which we are hoping will come to the Lord's people soon and in which we are hoping to participate.
Now further, we have seen and been expecting the Jews would be going back to Palestine, and at the beginning of this harvest time no Jew in the world had thought of going back to Palestine. They were all looking to their own chronology which has a difference of several hundred years from ours. There is nothing to be expected until the end of the 6,000 years. I think that is 350 years yet according to their chronology. In the last twenty years the Jews have been waking up, paying no attention to their chronology and hoping for the restoration to Israel and hoping God would grant them a national existence again--the very thing that according to the Bible is now due to be accomplished. We expect a larger enlightening of those, possibly, than we have seen. We thought more Jews would go than have, but we were not wise enough to know how many were going. What we do see is a sufficient number to fulfill God's word--a gathering of some of the most earnest Jews from all parts of the world. Not always the richest Jews, but it is said some eighteen millionaires are living at Jerusalem now. God tells how the Jews will be regathered there, with considerable wealth at about this time, possibly not this year or for several years, but all of these things are [Q93] coming our way and my faith in the ultimate carrying out of all these things is the same that it ever was.
I will grant, dear friends, perhaps three-fourths of this audience know exactly what is meant by the term "Gentile Times" now as well as after I give a more detailed explanation but for the sake of the one-fourth I will say God in times past had given a kingdom to Israel and it was typical of Messiah's kingdom that was first of all recognized in King David, and we read of him that he sat upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord. Now lots of other kingdoms today claim to be the kingdoms of the Lord, but they make the claim without Bible authority. David sat on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, and God said of the fruit of his loins there should be some one to sit on that throne forever, that He would never lack some one to sit on that throne--God's throne. And He never has. Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord in the room of his father David. Then followed Solomon's sons down to the last king, whose name was Zedekiah, and he was the last of David's line to sit on the throne of Judah over the people of God as representative of God's kingdom. What then occurred? In his day God said to him, "O thou profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus said the Lord God; Remove the diadem and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him."
Do you get the thought? There was the typical kingdom continued from David to Zedekiah and then taken away from the earth never to be replaced until the Messiah should replace it as God's true kingdom at his reign. And it has been so. There is no failure of that prophecy. Have the Jews not had a king since? None that God recognized. What about Maccabean, Herod, etc. The Maccabeans did not come from the line God recognized, and the Herod family were not only not of David's line, but were not Jews at all. They were the sons of Esau. It has been true that from Zedekiah down to the present time, there has been no king of David's line, and the next one to reign is the Messiah. What of that? That time from which their kingdom was broken off until Messiah would come, we believe was mentioned when He told them through Moses about how He would overturn them and punish them seven times--seven years. Not seven literal years, because they were punished much more than seven literal years, many times more. What does this mean? Seven times as much as they ought to be punished? No. What does it mean, then? We believe that he meant that God would punish them seven symbolic years for their sins. How much is that? [Q94] According to the Bible a symbolic year is 360 years--360 days to a lunar year and a day representing a year, so a symbolic year is 360 years. What of that? Seven times would be seven times 360 years, or 2,520 years. Where would they begin? They would begin the very time that God took away the crown and the diadem from Zedekiah. Where would they measure to? To the time when Messiah would take His kingdom. When will that be? To our understanding, my dear brothers and sisters, Zedekiah lost his crown in the year 606 B.C., and from here--606 B.C.-- measuring down 2,520 years to the best of our knowledge and belief, will expire with October, 1914. Now if anybody else can change that, let him do so. We have not found anyone that can. We do not say it is infallibly true, but we have not found anything wrong with it but we see that the right time for Him to receive His authority in the world will be October, 1914. Perhaps that is wrong, but I do not think it is far wrong. It does not seem probable. Those were years of Jewish punishment for their sins. They did not relate to the other punishment and how they got their great punishment, had their national existence taken away when they rejected Jesus, and they have had no national existence since the year A.D. 70. And they will have none until the day in which they will delight to say, "'Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord Jehovah." They will be glad to see him. How do you know they will? The Bible says so. The Bible says He is going to pour upon them fire, symbolical for trouble. I will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and of supplication, and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced. They will look with the eye of their understanding just as you have. Have you seen Him? Yes. Have you looked at Jesus? Yes. May not the Jew also? Yes, and he is about to do so, we believe. We understand one of the first things of the new order of things will be pouring upon Israel their share of the blessings and their eyes will be opened to recognize Him whom they rejected more than eighteen hundred years ago.
Looking from another standpoint, Jesus said in prophesy that "Jerusalem would continue to be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled." Was it trodden down in his day? Yes. Were they not governed from Rome? Surely. Now, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, does not that imply that there are certain times of the Gentiles? Yes. What does that mean? Did God give the world over to the Gentiles for a time? Yes. How do you know? Jesus said so, and you can go to the Bible and find the proof. God took the kingdom from Zedekiah and the crown was taken from him. Then God recognized the Gentile governments for the first time. Prove that. That is easy enough.
You remember Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, when exercising his power in overthrowing Zedekiah and utterly destroying Jerusalem, taking many of them captives, was the beginning of that period--the overturning of the crown--and to show us clearly where the authority went according to the divine view. God gave a vision and an interpretation of that. I will remind you of it. Eighteen years before Zedekiah's [Q95] kingdom was taken from him, a young man of a noble family of the Jews was taken prisoner with others, and that young man was Daniel; and he was put among the wise men of the land of Babylon to have special education and privileges, and he had been in Babylon for eighteen years. And when this time came represented in the dream, the king sent out word that he had had a dream, and called upon all of the wise men to come in the morning, and when they came in, he told them that he had had a dream the night before and it was very interesting and puzzling, and one of the most puzzling things was that the dream had gone from him and he could not remember it, and he told them that he wanted them to tell him the dream and what it meant. The wise men told him that no king had ever asked such a thing of his wise men before, that if he would tell them his dream they would give him some kind of an interpretation of it. The king answered them that he could see very easily how a man could make up some kind of an interpretation of it if they had the dream told them; but that if they had the divine power they could tell the dream and the interpretation also. "If you cannot do that I will have you put to death as imposters, letting on that you have connection with the gods which you have not." They were frightened, but when Daniel heard of it (it seems he was not with them before the king) he said to the king, "Why is this haste? If you will allow a certain time to be granted, there is One who is able to answer the king and give him the dream and the interpretation. That is the God whom I, Daniel, serve." "Very well, time will be granted." And at the time appointed, Daniel came before the king and told him the dream, and you remember it well.
"Thou, O King, sawest, and, behold, a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, and his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
"You have got it right," said the king. "That is exactly the dream. Now tell the interpretation." And Daniel proceeded to say, "The God of Heaven hath revealed unto the king this thing." That was from God. "Thou art this head of gold." A king over kings. You are the first one represented in this great image. This represents all of the Gentile governments that would ever bear rule over the earth. That represents the time between when God took away the typical kingdom and the time He would restore it. The description shows us that the head was the kingdom of Babylon, the next was Medo- Persia, the next Grecia, and the next the Roman Empire, represented by the legs, and the next in order was the holy Roman Empire, represented by the feet of iron and clay. The iron in the feet, by the way we understand, [Q96] represents the powers of the state. The Roman Empire still exists, not in the form it was first recognized, but in the fact that it was a combination of church and state, and the two uniting sought to rule over all Europe and the world, and generally there has been a disintegration between the iron (civil) and the clay (ecclesiastical) powers. Some places the iron is more prominent and some places the clay. The iron, which has the strength, is usually the most prominent. The clay, representing ecclesiasticism in the mixture, corresponds, shall I say, is the counterfeit of the stone? In other words, this power in combination with the civil power claims it was God's kingdom, claims that instead of smiting the image and destroying it, the stone itself had taken on the divine character and was ruling.
The great kings of Europe today, practically all of them, claim that they are God's kingdom, and yet that they are civil powers. On the one hand they are currying power with earthly kings, and on the other hand they claim to be God's kingdom. Such kingdoms claim that the Emperor Joseph is reigning there by divine authority, also Emperor William, Czar of Russia, etc.
According to the Bible, the next thing is that the whole image is going to be broken in fragments, and "become the chaff of the summer threshing floor," and be completely removed. The Bible says, Choose whom you will serve and whom you will believe. I think we have learned to put our confidence in the Word of God. We believe what it tells us, no matter what it says to anybody else.
The Word of God tells us that the next thing in order is for the stone to smite the image, and after the smiting the stone will fill the whole earth. I believe just what the Bible says. It need not make any difference to you what I believe, either, but what the Bible says. We are going by God's Word and not by each other. We have had bad enough experience in trying to follow men. We are not following men, but God. These things are sure. The Lord said so. No matter whether the smiting of the image will occur in 1915 or not. God only knows; but according to the best knowledge I have of the Bible, that will be the time when we shall expect that the image will be smitten in the feet. Why say 1915 and not 1914? Because these Gentile governments, represented by the image Babylon, Medo-Persia, etc., were given their places to occupy for a certain specific time, between the time Zedekiah's crown was taken away and the time when Messiah's Kingdom would be established. All of that time they must have. It is like a lease given to you. If you received a lease expiring October, 1914, why then, just as soon as the lease would expire it would be time for you to get out of the premises. Suppose you did not know that your lease had expired; it was long and you had forgotten it was for October 1st, 1914. You were building, planting and fixing up the house as though you were expecting to stay there forever. Now your lease has run out; what would you then expect? You would receive some notice to get out. Suppose you did not go? You would be put out. [Q97]
What we see about the Gentile Times is that God gave a lease to the Gentiles when He took away the kingdom from the typical Israel. He said to the Gentiles, I am going to give you the lease or opportunity in which you may take hold of the affairs of the world and see if you can bring to the world such things as make for peace.
We want to say here, some of these Gentile nations have done wonderfully well. I congratulate many of them on having done splendidly, all we could expect, all beastly governments, they have done the best they could. Who could bring perfection out of an impure thing? What do we think today as we are nearing the close of the Gentile Times, the 2,520 years, beginning 606 B.C. and expiring October, 1914? Have they brought in everlasting righteousness? No. Have they brought happiness to the world? No. Have they brought that which will be the desire of all nations? No. What must we hope for? What God has declared He will bring, and Messiah's Kingdom will bring to mankind "the desire of all nations."
Are any of the nations getting ready to move? I have not heard of it. Don't they know the Gentile Times have expired? I guess not. The truth has gone all over the world? Yes, but it is foolishness to them. If the emperor heard anything about the times of the Gentiles he would laugh. So would the king of England, or the czar of Russia. Even the Emperor William would have a good laugh at the thought that God had anything to do with a better government than his. How could God get a better one? It would naturally occur to these gentlemen that God could hardly choose a better king or ruler than is now in office. All of these men are imperfect and are all laboring under more or less of a delusion and the false doctrines of the past, and are so bewildered and weak they could not do better if they did not know how.
Their lease will expire and God who gave it to them will take back things in His control and set up the Kingdom in the hands of the Messiah that Jesus taught us to pray for, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
What do you expect, then, Brother Russell, in October, 1914? I expect October will come and the kings of the earth --the Gentiles--will not know that their lease is expired. What then? A thunder clap out of a clear sky, that will begin to show these kings that a new Ruler is taking possession of the world. How will it come? I do not know the particulars. I have merely the outline. The first thing in order will be the manifestation of God's kingdom. How? The revealment, the making known. What do you mean? The Epiphania. He has been here and is to continue a thousand years. His parousia will not end in this forty years.
Next in order will be (the apokalupsis) the revealment. How will that be? "I have my idea," some one says. "I think that He will come and will sit on the circle of the Heaven and every eye will look up and all fall down and weep and howl." Not a bit of it. I think the Bible way of telling that matter is this way, dear friends: "He shall be [Q98] revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance." What is that? A great system of judgments will begin at that time. Flaming fire, outward manifestation of judgment. Why did you say fire? Because the Bible uses that as a symbolical expression just as He said the fiery trials which are to try you, and the gold is being prepared by fire. It is said of the world, not the Church, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance." That will be after October, 1914? Yes. How long will it take? I do not know. Have you any guess? Guesses are very dangerous things, and if I will do any guessing I will give you the reason why I guess. In this case we have seen the parallel in the ending of the Jewish age. The city was destroyed in A.D. 70. The ending of the Gospel Age and the baptism of trouble will come, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the capitalistic elements and all, the whole world will become like a furnace, every man's hand against his neighbor. That is the Bible description of it. The fire will come on the men in a natural way. It is their own fire that they built. It is because they are not living up to their grant. The Bible indicates that this condition would have come long ago if God had not held it back. When the right time comes God will no longer hold the four winds back, and the conflagration will be thorough, and swift, and terrible. Jesus said, speaking of that time, "Unless those days be shortened no flesh shall be saved. But for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
How long did it take for the trouble that came upon the Jews to destroy them? About one year. After the forty years are ended, what might be expected here? Perhaps one year here might be enough of this trouble. God only knows. We are merely offering an idea. So I will expect 1915 will be a very severe year.
Where will the Church be then? Part of the question here. I am giving a liberal interpretation of this question and answer at the same time a half dozen other questions that will be asked. What about the Church? I do not know. I can only guess, and as I said before, guesses are very unsafe. Our supposition would be what we have always understood that when He would appear, when He would be manifest in the flaming fire, we would appear with Him. That would imply that we would be gone from here.
Another Scripture says, "Watch, that ye may be able to escape these things." That implies that we shall be gone, we think. It is implication. We are not sure. We would naturally suppose that the Church gathering would be before the end or by the end of the Gentile Times, but we are not certain. We call your attention to one of the Psalms and the statement therein made. "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people. To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron. To execute upon them the judgments written: This honor have all the saints." [Q99]
We pointed out in a recent Tower, dear friends, some of these things that seem to imply that the saints shall enter into some kind of glory this side the veil. We are not sure. We do not wish to prophesy. We are merely trying to read a prophecy. Our thought has always been that we would have nothing to do with the judging of the world until we had passed beyond the veil; but this seems to imply that some of the work would be done this side, because the bed seems to represent ease, the sword the Bible which is the Word of God. We say to ourselves while we might have the high sounding praise of God in our mouths on the other side of the veil, we would not need to be on the bed of rest or have the sword of the Spirit. On the other side we will have something more perfect. These are for use here under present conditions. Therefore, there is something in that Psalm which seems to me to say the reward referred to may be here. What of it? Apparently the next verse says they are to share with all the saints in the execution of the judgments written. What would that mean? It might seem that some of God's people might remain on this side of the veil, while others would be on the other side, and the two were one complete body acceptable to the Lord and might jointly engage in some work, they there and we here. There is a thought we might take. There is a possibility of it, and I am merely keeping my eye of faith and understanding open to see. I am not saying it is so, but we are in a place where we do not know. Our faith is strong, but whether all of our expectations in respect to the changes will be fulfilled by October 1st, or a year afterwards, I do not know, but whatever is God's will for you, is your will, I trust. Whatever is God's will for me, is my will; and if God has something beyond what I had thought, I will be very glad to have His will be done. Aren't you? I am sure you are.
I understand there are some of the dear friends at the Convention whose faith is shaky and they feel like selling out. I would like to find them. How much do you want for what you have gotten? Count up all you have received. What will you take for it? Say the word. Will you take $1,000.00?
You have a great bargain anyhow. Whatever comes you have a good bargain anyway. You are laying hold upon and appreciating what Jesus told us about the pearl of great price-- a priceless pearl. Sell everything you have to obtain this pearl. You sold out your own will once and you have nothing to say whether God's plan is October, 1914, or 1940. It is none of your business. You gave all to the Lord. It is His.
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me. prayerfully, and see if there would be anything to their advantage or disadvantage. If you see anything to your advantage take it. If not, don't take it. I think of a vow I took some years ago. It was after some of the revolving picture-shows that they have in all cities--moving pictures-- came before the public. I looked through several of these and after I had gone away I thought the matter over and said: I don't believe it is to my advantage to look through that box. I made a vow that I would never look through one again. You ask: Was there any sin in looking through? No, not at all. But to me it would be sin now if I did it.
CHURCH--Stifling Conscience Re Submission.
QUESTION (1909)--1--How far may we stifle our judgment in connection with the principle of submission?
ANSWER.--Stifling our judgment is one thing and stifling our conscience is another. If it is a question of stifling our conscience or our judgment, I would say it would be better to stifle our judgment, for we must not stifle our conscience. If it is merely a question of judgment and the responsibility of judgment doesn't devolve upon us, leave it to the congregation. Submit your judgment to the others--submit your thought for the decision of the others. If your judgment is better than the others you owe it to the others to tell them-- and then be quiet. Otherwise you might be like the juryman who said the other eleven men had no sense at all because they wouldn't see the matter as he did.